Residents Protest Garbage Incinerator in Guangdong (Updated with Videos)

Residents of Panyu, Guangdong, are protesting plans to build a garbage incinerator in their city, and the actions are being tweeted live at the hashtag #pylj. @ellachou is translating many of the tweets into English. Photos have been posted on flickr and Twitter:
panyu(by [BLT]FQX)

(“We Don’t Want to be Represented”)
(“Return my pension” “Return my social security”)
(“Oppose the garbage incinerator. Protect a green Panyu”)
(by LEMONed. See more here.)

Watch videos of the protest here.

Xinhua reported on the situation in Panyu:

Panyu, which has a population of 2.5 million, produced about 600,000 tons of garbage last year, or 1,640 tons a day, he said.

“We expect some 2,200 tons of garbage a day by 2010. We could not find a large landfill to deal with the rising garbage due to limited land resources,” Ye said.

“Facing the rising demand of garbage treatment, the incineratoris currently the right option for us.”

Following a wide range of opposition from nearby residents, the Panyu urban landscape authority issued a notice at the end of last month to solicit public opinion and organized a team of experts to conduct environmental assessments of the project.

Ye did not reveal when the environmental assessments would be completed.” If we do not introduce new ways to deal with garbage, Guangzhou will be surrounded by piles of garbage in the years ahead,” Ye said.

Update: Reuters reports: Hundreds in south China oppose waste incinerator

Hundreds of residents in China’s southern city of Guangzhou protested outside government offices on Monday, opposing plans for a major garbage incinerator that they say will endanger their health and the environment.

Wen Yunchao, a prominent mainland blogger and rights activist, said more than 1,200 protesters had demanded the resignation of the city’s deputy general secretary, Lu Zhiyi, during a large protest outside Guangzhou Municipal Government building.

He said the Panyu waste incineration plant, which will handle 2,000 metric tons of trash a day, might endanger the health of residents like a similar incinerator built near Guangzhou’s Likeng village in 2005.

Update: See reports from The Guardian, Telegraph, Time, and AP. From the Guardian report:

Residents are unhappy about what they see as inadequate consultation for the project. A public meeting this morning broke down when officials were deluged with around 200 petitioners.

The frustrated crowd surged into the municipal government office and demanded to be heard. They then occupied the city square, where they staged a peaceful sit-in. Wen Yunchao, a blogger and rights activist at the scene, told the Guardian by telephone that the number of protesters had swelled to about 800 as word spread by mobile phone and internet. The authorities declared the gathering illegal after the participants demanded the resignation of the city’s deputy general secretary, he said.

The demonstration was broken up by police, who used crowd barriers to drive the protesters off the square. Most of the protesters were home-owners and villagers from Panyu, the district where the planned incinerator is expected to handle 2,000 tonnes of waste per day.

From the Telegraph: China’s middle-class rise up in environmental protest

More than 1,000 people took to the streets in a district of Guangzhou to protest against the building of a rubbish incinerator near their homes.

The crowd expanded as members sent real-time reports on the protest through Twitter, the micro-blogging website, and posted photographs on the internet. While Twitter is officially blocked by the government in China, it has a growing following among internet users who can route access through private servers abroad.

One of the protesters, who asked to remain anonymous but who was using Twitter throughout the day, was alerted to the protest through the internet. “The matter didn’t directly concern us but we were pursuing the public interest and we wanted to show our friends and other people what was going on so we took pictures and used all the modern technology we could to show a protest in real time,” he said. “The police also videotaped us, but we are prepared for any consequences later.”

Here are some video clips from the protest on youtube, thanks to Diane Gatterdam for the link.

See video reports on the protest by activist group CoChina:

All 17 CoChina reports can be seen here.

Please also read blogger Roland Soong’s translation of Southern Metropolis Daily Coverage of Panyu Garbage Incinerator Protest.